The increased adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) – both in the United States and around the world – has experts noting the increasing need for a major overhaul of parking structure design to accommodate the fact that these vehicles are significantly heavier than their internal combustion engine-powered brethren.
EVs are much heavier than gas-powered vehicles due to the large and extremely heavy batteries that power their functions, which are increasingly driving the need to overhaul the design of both new and existing parking garages, including fire safety protocols and modifications to accommodate the additional weight they will be forced to deal with.
Earlier this year, the United Kingdom’s Institution of Structural Engineers released new design guidance for parking garages. This guidance covered a wide variety of topics related to EVs, including their weight, access to charging stations, and fire safety considerations, given the fact that EV battery fires can be notoriously difficult to extinguish with conventional firefighting equipment on the occasions that they take place.
This issue will only be compounded as time goes by, as a wider range of EV models come to market with increased range capabilities – that will be made possible by even larger and heavier batteries – which will make the need for an overhaul to parking structure design even more of a pressing issue than it is currently.
According to reports, the average weight of a vehicle has increased from 1.5 metric tons – or 3,307 pounds – in 1974, to nearly two metric tons – or 4,409 pounds – in 2023.
Already, some newer EVs are tipping the scales at over 3 metric tons – or 6,614 pounds – and an extreme example of this whopping increase in weight is the upcoming Cybertruck being offered by Tesla, constructed of stainless steel and anticipated to weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.3 to 3.6 metric tons, or 5,000 to 8,000 pounds.
Clearly, when all this is taken into account, there is a very real need to adopt new structural and safety standards into future parking structures, and to retrofit current ones to accommodate the additional loads they will soon be forced to burden.
Earlier this year, a parking garage in New York City collapsed, killing at least one person and injuring several others.
Christopher Boyle is an investigative journalist, videographer, reporter and writer for SEARCHEN NETWORKS® as well as other independent news and media organizations in the United States. Christopher works on a wide variety of topics and fields, has been featured in print and online in a variety of publications, from local to national, and helps keep a keen-eye on what’s happening in the automotive world for Auto Buyers Market.